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Mothers dealt with incompatible expectations during breast feeding and weaning

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QUESTION: What are women’s experiences and perceptions during the process of managing the later stages of established breast feeding and ultimately weaning the child from the breast?


Grounded theory.


Social and cultural context of Western Australia.


33 mothers (mean age 33 y) mainly recruited from a larger study on breast feeding and weaning, who had each weaned a child within the previous 6 months. 17 of the women were first time mothers, and the remaining 16 had ≥2 children.


Data were obtained from indepth interviews with 33 women, field notes, 9 postal questionnaires from fathers, interviews with 5 child health nurses, and a group interview with 7 child health nurses.

Main findings

Participants viewed their performance of breast feeding and weaning as a component of their whole mothering experience and ultimately wanted to be able to see themselves, and be seen by others, as good mothers.

2 major categories emerged from the data. …

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  • Source of funding: no external funding.

  • For correspondence: Dr Y L Hauck, School of Nursing and Public Health, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia. y.hauck{at}